A week ago, my wife and I went to visit her grandparents. It was all a pretense to get me over there to look at their computer, which had been running very slowly lately.
Going in, I knew that the machine had slowed significantly when they installed Norton Anti-virus a few months ago. While booting up, I noticed several other factors that slowed the machine down:
1) It runs Windows ME
2) It had 32 MB of RAM
3) Did I mention the bogus OS?
I went through and made sure that there weren’t any extra things loading up on startup (as well as I could, because the OS wasn’t being helpful) and got them started downloading the Windows Updates that they needed. I made a note that they have 2 SIMM slots and 2 DIMM slots, and this week, I tracked down some memory to help them upgrade.
Today, I finally went back to install the new RAM. The first stick I put in didn’t change the total memory available. The second wouldn’t work either, until I pulled out the original 32 MB stick. It seems that the original stick is now fried, but at least the new stick is bigger (64 MB) than their old one. I also threw in 32 MB of DRAM.
The problem is that the machine would not boot. When no good RAM was in, the machine wouldn’t POST. When good RAM was in, it would POST, and then die as soon as it went to boot. No combination of RAM changed this behavior.
I eventually gave up, because nothing was happening and I was getting frustrated. The awful thing is that they could replace the machine (from a surplus reseller) for almost less than the RAM I just installed in it (which I got from a surplus dealer).